Moisture between double pane windows: what to do

January 13, 2012

One of the most common problems with residential windows can also be the most aggravating: moisture between the panes of glass. The condition is often caused by a broken seal, and you're reminded of the problem every time you want to enjoy the outdoor view. Is there an easy solution? It depends on whom you ask, but in most cases purchasing a new sash can be the best long-term cure.

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Double pane windows for homes with moisture problems

If you see moisture on the glass panes of your windows, the first step is to locate exactly where it's located. It's not unusual for moisture to collect on the outside of the glass in the morning when the days have been warm and evenings much cooler. However, this water problem normally corrects itself as evaporation takes place during the day. Moisture on the interior surface of your windows is a different issue and could be caused by too much humidity in the house. This condition can occur in newer homes where moisture from construction materials and finishes may take time to disappear. There can also be excessive humidity in the conditioned air of your home during the winter months. In either case, possible solutions for drying your windows include the following:

  1. Circulate air with ceiling fans
  2. Use a portable dehumidifier
  3. Adjust your HVAC system's registers and vents
  4. If there is a humidifier on your furnace, adjust it down a bit
  5. Install bath-fans if you don't already have them

Unfortunately, moisture between the glass panes can't be remedied quite as easily. Double pane windows for homes often have insulating gas sealed between the panes, and when a seal gets old or fails, moisture can find its way into the cavity. This condition normally results in a fogged up appearance for the sash. There are service companies that offer various solutions for the problem, but the jury is out as to whether any of them offer a long-term solution. These procedures may also void any warranty you have on the windows.

Most manufacturers such as Andersen Windows and Doors recommend simply removing the problem sash and replacing it with a new unit. Depending on the manufacturer and the age of the window, the entire cost may be covered under your warranty. The moisture problem your double pane windows might have can be irritating, but in most cases it's curable.



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